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Interview Recorded: March 19, 2006
Posted: March 10, 2007
On the 19th March, 2006, TriniView.com interviewed 1979 World Netball Champion team member Peggy Castanada-Phillip at her home in Sangre Grande. Peggy's career as a netball player started at the age of sixteen when she joined the Pan Am Marvellites Netball Team in 1969. Faced with her biggest challenge, to prove she was not only capable of becoming a netball player, but one of the best, Peggy took advantage of every opportunity to learn and play the game with utmost proficiency. As a result, she made the national team which shared the World Championship with Australia and New Zealand in 1979.
The entire team was awarded the Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Gold Medal and the Trinidad and Tobago Netball Association was awarded a Trinidad and Tobago Hummingbird Gold Medal in 1979. To this day they remain the only Trinidad and Tobago team to have ever won a world title. One of Peggy's biggest concerns is the lack of respect for the sport as well as for people like herself who have contributed laboriously in its development.
TRINIVIEW.COM: Ms. Castanada, how long has it been since you stopped being a netball and basketball player?
PEGGY: I do not think I have really stopped playing because I played last season.
TRINIVIEW.COM: How old were you when you started playing?
PEGGY: Actually I started late because I did not play when I was in primary school; it was around 1968, when I was about fifteen years old. I started with basketball and then in 1969, I joined the Pan Am Marvellites Netball Team.
TRINIVIEW.COM: When you started playing, was it in Sangre Grande?
PEGGY: No, I started playing in Port of Spain. When I was attending the Arima New Government Primary School I asked the teacher to be on the squad. Normally the girls are bigger, and she said I was too short and obviously too plump. I was always big for my age in terms of size. After that I just looked on until my mother moved to Port of Spain where I was formally introduced to the game.
TRINIVIEW.COM: Who was responsible for that introduction?
PEGGY: It was a lady whose name I do not recall, but it was at a private secondary school. Following that introduction, the first formal coach that I had was a woman whose name was Margaret King. She was the coach of Progressive Education Institute and she was also a member of the Pan Am Marvellites Netball Team.
TRINIVIEW.COM: You were a goal shooter, how did you happen to play that position?
PEGGY: I think maybe when I started with the basketball group I was in, the basketball coach, Mr. Horace Cartey, was responsible for my accuracy. Mr. Cartey was a teacher and the coach of B.W.I.A. Sun Jets South East Juniors from behind the bridge. He also coached Lenny Guy, Ancil Pouchet and those guys. Before I met Mr. Cartey I always had a keen eye; maybe it was just luck. My mother had a keen eye and she was also keen in scoring. In the old days they played in Matura, but they didn't play much. I have two sisters, one who was in the army and one who is in the police force. Joanne, who is in the police force, said she played for a brief while with the police. Joanne played as a goal shooter. She was also very accurate on the shooting range. When my other sister Sharon was in the army, she was one of the best shooters. Sharon was also the best female recruit at the parade. Apparently the accuracy runs in the family. Maybe that is why I was able to shoot. I never played in any other position except for fun.
TRINIVIEW.COM: How long did you stay with the Pan Am Marvellites Netball Team?
PEGGY: Nearly my whole life... just barring maybe one year. Some of the players had left their jobs and went on to the Ministry of Sports. At that point we decided maybe we could try to bring out a team. But when we came up against our old clubs, the netball started getting hostile with envy and rivalry against each other with the same people with whom you were accustomed to playing with all your life. It became more and more difficult and we couldn't take it, so eventually we went back to our various clubs. That was just for one year. The team was called Net Aces with a few national players like Marcia Dim Soy, Sherril Peters, Eunice Pierre, Jennifer Frank, and Althea Thomas-Luces.
TRINIVIEW.COM: When did your national career start?
PEGGY: My national career started in 1972 when I was still in school.
TRINIVIEW.COM: What was it like for you?
PEGGY: I lost myself in netball because I wanted something to hold on to, coming out of the country and going into Port of Spain. I lived with my stepfather and sometimes it was difficult for me to get out so I used the sport as a vehicle to get out of the house.
TRINIVIEW.COM: How many times did you represent the national team?
PEGGY: I think I spent a period of eleven years on the team, from 1972 until 1983. I didn't represent the team in 1973, because I think they started going for tall players. It was around that time when Cyrenia Charles came on the scene. I started representing the team again from 1974 and never left until 1983. My life was just on hold with full commitment to the sport. There wasn't anytime for kids and marriage or building a house; I was married to the game. That is how it was with me. I made three world tournaments. One was in 1975, another one was in 1979 and my last tournament was in 1983. The fourth world tournament was in 1979 in Auckland, New Zealand, and the fifth tournament was also in 1979 in Trinidad, when we were joint champions with New Zealand and Australia. In 1983 I think we placed third in Singapore.
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